Performing Disability Histories

Project History

Origins of the project

The work builds on two projects led by Dr Shah (the Principal Investigator), hosted by the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds:

Project 1:

‘Including a New Generation: using qualitative longitudinal methods to understand disabled people’s lives in the 21st century’, combined critical policy analysis with the biographical narratives to examine the great social and policy changes that have taken place from the Second World War to the present day. Focusing on a period in which disability emerged as a key social, cultural and policy concept, it address the question ‘has life has changed for disabled people?’ growing up in England, both as a public policy issue and a personal problem. The research monograph Disability & Social Change: Public Policies and Private Lives documents this work extensively and will be used as for the project as a foundation to build school children’s awareness and knowledge of disability as a socio-historical phenomenon.

Project 2

‘The Performance of Disability Histories: Remembrance and Transmission’, was funded as part of the AHRC Beyond Text Scheme between September 2008 and January 2010. Through three themed knowledge transfer events (in London, Nottingham and Leeds), the workshop programme brought together academics (from a diversity of disciplines), performing arts practitioners (disabled and non-disabled) and students to demonstrate the value of innovative methodologies to promote social scientific disability research. More specifically it examined the performance potential of life history research with disabled people.

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